Entries Tagged as 'commentary'

Visiting Stoystown, PA, Pennsylvania and the Flight 93 Memorial  

The Tower of Voices, Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA 2019

The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.

I’ve traveled a lot across the state of Pennsylvania in my life…mostly for business purposes.

On one of my trips there this summer, I actually did a little web surfing and realized that I had bypassed a very important place in my travels.

Stoystown, PA.

My personal feeling is that a lot of us have not visited this hallowed place. My point here is that each of us should.

It is in Stoystown, near Shanksville, that a common field became a field of honor on September 11, 2001. The 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 commandeered the plane from the terrorists, who hijacked it and were planning to crash it into the U.S. Capitol. The plane ultimately crashed in Stoystown, killing all on board.

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

A display within the museum of the Flight 93 Memorial

Not for reasons of malice but likely more for reasons of geography, greater attention has always seemed to me to be paid to the crash sites in New York City and Washington, D.C. Not one of the three sites is any less important than the other…the tragedies were horrifically equal.

I write this today so that you may know, as a now proud visitor to the Flight 93 Memorial at 6424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563, I believe you too should visit this Memorial.

For your soul, for your patriotism and for your faith in your fellow man to do the brave thing when it is the hardest thing, you must visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

Flight 93 National Memorial's Wall of Names

Flight 93 National Memorial’s Wall of Names, honoring 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93 killed when the hijacked jet crashed at the site during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It is vast in scope, as one might imagine a remote, open field to be. There are three main sites to visit at the Flight 93 Memorial – you should visit them all and spend quiet time at each of them, as I did.

It is a beautiful place, especially in its simplicity.

It is an elegant place in its design elements and layout.

It is a reflective and thoughtful place where you learn about the people who died in defense of their country, the messages they left for their loved ones as events unfolded and the selfless bravery they each showed when bravery was their only defense.

18 years ago today, I know where I was and what I was doing.

This summer, I also knew where I was and what I was doing.  And I am eternally grateful that I did it.

Crash site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 Memorial, Stoystown, PA

The boulder in the distance represents the crash site of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, killing the 40 passengers and crew on board who – in their bravery -thwarted a planned terrorist attack on the United States Capitol.

‘hell no’ to the voiceover exposure offer

-Source: NEW YORK POST August 21, 2019

I was – all at once – shocked and not at all surprised to read an exclusive story this morning in the New York Post about a major business organization completely disrespecting a well-respected, very well-known and honored performer.

The organization wanted to offer the artist “exposure” (i.e. no fees or expense payment). Not even a car ride.

According to the story, with accompanying confirming quotes from the performer – the great singer Darlene Love was recently asked by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to perform her iconic song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” at the NYSE’s 96th annual Christmas tree lighting, coming up in December.

Everybody with a brain in the music industry knows and respects who Darlene Love is…but the NYSE thinks after 60 years as a professional, Darlene Love needs exposure.

Exposure, not payment. From the world’s largest stock exchange, an organization profiting from trading billions of dollars daily.

Exposure not payment. For a singer, actress and music industry legend since 1959 to sing one of her biggest hits, an iconic song, live at – what I feel very sure is – a fairly expensive Christmas event.

Exposure, not payment. At Christmas!

To the offer, Love ultimately said not no, but hell no.

As a voice actor, you need to say the same thing to an “exposure” offer – whether it be a grossly low fee or no fee at all.

If you’ve been in this business for more than a minute, some jackass (man or woman) has come to you with a voiceover job that couldn’t offer you a fee but could offer you “great exposure” and that “might lead to more business down the road”.

Unless the offer is a charity you would otherwise support (so, without the “jackass”), the offer is baloney and will lead to nothing more than you devaluing your own business worth, while also being taken advantage of in a very public way by an unscrupulous business person you shouldn’t be working with in the first place.

Even those who are just starting out, who feel they need the exposure – if you don’t see your true value as a VO artist (and thus being willing to work for free where other ARE being paid) —then don’t be a VO artist! You not only disrespect yourself but you disrespect the rest of us in the voiceover industry. I am personally very not OK with that.

To the exposure offer in any industry – but especially voiceover – don’t just say no, say hell no.

source-connect is the standard and i’m a standard bearer (that means i have source-connect in my voiceover studio)

Voiceover Peter K. O'Connell Source-ConnectThere are nice things about being in a club.

I’m not talking about the leather-chair, cigar smoking clubs out there (I’ve been members at those kind of clubs…they are not that big a deal).

I’m mean like clubs where members share a common interest and can talk about things you each know about and, as a member, you can learn from people who share your interests…like audio production and voiceover. Turns out there’s a kind of club for that.

Technology brought a lot of change to the industry, some of it bad (pay to play voiceover web sites) and some of it good.

One of the good things was Source-Connect, which uses codecs and the internet to offer recording studios, media producers, voiceover talents like me and other audio professionals high-quality options to record and monitor recording sessions remotely.

ISDN AUDIOCONNELL.COMSource-Connect is (has been) replacing ISDN, which was the industry standard for remote recording. ISDN always sounds great, no doubt about that. The down side of ISDN is that it was expensive to connect to ISDN studios with over priced codec boxes and copper wiring via the telephone company’s system to make recording sessions happen.

After a while, between criminals in the street trying to steal expensive copper wiring and criminals at the phone company jacking the ISDN rates up (because they didn’t want to support an unprofitable service like ISDN)…studios and talent needed a new remote audio recording tool.

Enter Source Elements and Source-Connect. The faster the internet got, the better signals got – Source-Connect  allows super high quality remote audio recording with extremely low latency (if any at all).

Studios anywhere in the world can connect with me on Source-Connect (username: audioconnell) and the recording can be voiced by me here in Raleigh, NC voiceover studio and recorded on the other end (again, anywhere in the world) if they also have Source-Connect.

Oh, and with Source-Connect, a connection can be bridged to an ISDN recording studio if the studio only has or prefers ISDN. So I am still ISDN compatible, without the expense on my end.

That’s why I am a card carrying member of the Source-Connect club. The service makes it easier for my clients and it also make it easier for me.

Easy is the new black.

If you’d like to record with me using Source-Connect, just let me know. Voice with you soon!

not peter on ANOTHER car commercial (yes sir!)

Deacon Jones Auto Group North CarolinaI loves me some television car commercials.

They are fun for me as a voiceover talent because the vibe is different for every dealership’s tv car spot and every car brand.

Some are super hard sell and some are very warm and fuzzy…others are in between. It’s great because it’s a unique persona (ugh, more arty-farty acting words!) for each spot. It allows me to show off my acting range (oy, ok, enough with the acting lingo).

So this one was nice because its a regional television spot for the 18 dealerships of the Deacon Jones Auto Group in North Carolina. Their dealerships are in Smithfield, Goldsboro, Princeton, LaGrange, Greenville, Selma, Raleigh & Clinton. Their car brands include Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Kia, Lincoln, Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

Client was looking for a friendly, trustworthy voice and lo and behold, here I am: your friendly, neighborhood voiceover talent at your service.

Very nice folks to work with and pleased to have been of service to them.

audio’connell in portland, oregon (all the beautiful people)

Portland Oregon Voiceovers July 2019

Portland Voiceover Friends (around the U from left to right) Marc Rose, Bruce Miles, Emma Miles, Jen Gosnell, Peter K. O’Connell, Karyn O’Bryant, July 2019

If you’re going to travel from one ocean to the other, it’s sure is nice to have friends waiting for you on the other side.

So I did the Portland, OR trip this week…lovely weather too, so much nicer than the oppressive heat and humidity of Raleigh in the past few weeks.

I was very fortunate to have my friend Bruce Miles coordinate a lovely dinner with old and new voiceover friends….I’m told Portlandia is a foodies paradise and the two dinners we’ve had out there have been great.

So in addition to Bruce, his lovely and so fun wife Emma joined us – she’s not a voice talent, she’s better than that!

Jen Gosnell was there, taking a break from her family and voicework, great to see her. New Portlandian Karyn O’Bryant (who was on a VO-BB video chat earlier with Bruce and host of much more famous voices) came out to the party too. And I got to meet Marc Rose, a voice talent who runs Fuse Audio Design, where he also produces music and sound effects and teaches VO too.

There was an abundance of talking and noshing and just a great evening. I’m both pleased and honored that they would come out for some dinner.

Hope to see them again soon.

interviewing the Bishop of Raleigh on the radio

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Volunteer Host and Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell and Chief Engineer Keith Flannary July 2019

Volunteer radio host and station voice Peter K. O’Connell with Chief Engineer Keith Flanary broadcasting Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Zarama’s blessing of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio on July 9, 2019

So here’s another cool thing I got to do on the radio.

As I’ve mentioned, I volunteer at a Catholic radio station (WETC-AM) in Raleigh Durham, NC (the whole station is run by volunteers). I do their production and programming stuff – which isn’t too heavy a lift because the station carries mostly network programming and the Chief Engineer programs all the spots into the computer. I just voice and write stuff and produce it as well as producing voice work from other volunteers.

Catholic Diocese of Raleigh North CarolinaThe Executive Director of Divine Mercy Radio, Cecelia Flanary, invited the Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, the Most Reverend Luis Rafael Zarama, to come to the station and bless the studios, equipment and volunteers. Pretty cool for a Catholic radio station only on-the-air for 5 months to get a visit from the Bishop. Remember, the Catholic 540-AM radio ministry is a lay apostolate, not owned or operated by the Diocese. This was a great kindness for the Bishop to share time from his crazy-busy schedule.

Naturally when I heard about this, I opened my big mouth and said we should broadcast the event live on the radio.

So we did.

Blessing of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio_Peter K. O'Connell Interviews Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh July 2019

Radio station volunteer Peter K. O’Connell interviews Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh as the Bishop offers his blessing on the station and volunteers of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio, WETC Wendell Zebulon, North Carolina on July 9, 2019.

The reception began at 6:00pm with the Bishop scheduled to do his formal blessing at 6:30pm. I estimated we would be on the air for about 45 minutes if we started at 6:00 and my timing worked out about right. From the many folks attending the reception, I pulled out from the party some of the Board of Directors who have been with the station almost since the beginning…or since the beginning, to talk about the history of the station.

These were among the many folks who deserved to take a bow for their tireless efforts (which are on-going) on behalf of this station.

Then at around 6:25, Bishop Zarama arrived and I asked the station organizers to please bring him over to our broadcast spot so we could have an brief on-air chat. He was great…smart, thoughtful and very kind. Many thanks to the Bishop for sharing some time with us. His comments during the blessing were terrific and it ended up being a great broadcast (not because of me) that was part of a very special evening.

Plus there was free food, which is how most people in radio get paid anyway!